The Connemara Ring was a busy one on Sunday at Westport. Under an azure blue sky with distant clouds, the three Showing Rings looked a treat, well laid out and fenced, surrounded by generous seating and colourful flower displays. Standards were high in the Ring also and the Stallion Class in particular, with twelve princely Registered Connemara sires on show, attracted a large appreciative audience. Michael Casey judging ( he has been 40 years judging horses and ponies and remembers winning his first rosette at Mohill Show, Co.Leitrim with an Irish Draught filly in 1940)
Niamh Melody and Junior Judge Tommy Conneely made up the panel. On the downside for spectators, quite a few ponies were not in the catalogue, including some winning ones. Junior Champion was Mairtín Nee’s stunning yearling colt winner Doonreaghan Marty (Coolillaun Cushlaun X Doonreaghan Star) so his handler Noel Nee had a happy drive home to Cashel.
The Championship went to the 7yr old mare of substance, Manninard Springeen (Tulira Roebuck X Tara iv), bred by Gerry Talbot of Athenry and now owned and shown by Joe Burke to win the 7 yrs. and over Mare Class. The Burkes have a close connection with Manninard Springeen as Eamonn Burke had originally bred Tara iv (who was by his own Cloonisle Cashel).
Other winners included the yearling filly Derryeighter Freya (Linsfort Barney X Pride of the West) Bred and owned by Patrick King of Errislannon, Clifden. This filly goes back to Village Boy and Cuchulainn The 2yr.old filly Class which had a selection of beautiful ponies, went to Caillín Conneely’s Letterdyfe Rachel Rose (Hazy Match X Letterdyfe Rose).
Claregalway’s Val Noone won the 2yr old Colt Class Rosette for Beach King (Monaghanstown Boy X Beach Girl) Tom Bourke, Abbeyside Stud, Claremorris, was the winner of the Filly Foal Class with the lovely offspring of Cramond Joker X Brooklawn Beauty. Sorry not to have a picture of her.
The Colt Foal red rosette went to Carraroe’s Peter O’Malley with Caoranbeg Fionn (Moorland Snowy River X Hana’s Glory)
The 3/4 year old Mare Class with a large number of entries was won by Renvyle’s Geoffrey Heanue with Ava’s Girl (Robe Thunder Dun X Cailin Aerach) Padraig Hynes from Canal Stage, Connemara was the Judges favourite in the 5/7 year old Class with Curragh Court Lady (Clonberne Boy X Clydagh Marie) Sire of the dam was Cloonisle Cashel and Village Boy is in the pedigree also. She was Reserve Champion at the end of a long day. The Champion Manninard Springeen, (see above) was the winner of the very competitive class of Mares 7 and over.
The winner of the 12 strong Stallion Class was Liam Reilly’s Dunally Lad (Linsford Barney X Dunally Daffodil). Bred by Gabriel Roddy of Donegal, this stallion has Mervyn Kingsmill, Kingstown Molly and Abbeyfort in his back breeding.
Michelle Martin took the Gelding Class with her good riding pony Aughnakeeragh Paddy (Moy Hazy Cove X Sheba’s Lady).
Another Mayo based pony won the Ridden Gelding championship qualifier. Keel Rogue (Robe Thunder X Aille Lucky Cailin) is owned by Orla Calvey, Achill, and the rider was Lauren McNally. This combination also qualified for the Oughterard International Championships in August.
The English bred stallion Walstead Cartier(Tiercel Top Cat X Cutless Lucky Gem) was ridden to victory in the Open Ridden Class by Westport’s Rebecca Fabby. They also qualified for the Oughterard Powers Quarry Championship.
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